Norwegians Launch Interoperability Framework, Mandate ODF

Norway’s Minister of Government Administration and Reform, also Minister of IT, Ms Heidi Grande Røys, in a press announcement on Friday, Første skritt mot en offentlig sektor uten leverandørbindinger, announced that with the launch of the Norwegian Government’s interoperability framework, called Referansekatalog for IT-standarder), the Norwegian government takes “the first step towards a public sector without vendor fixation”.

Of particular interest is that the Norwegian government boldly goes ahead and proposes mandation of a set of standards for document formats:

  • ODF is mandated for document exchange and downloads of editable documents. According to the framework document, OASIS ODF 1.0 is the standard used, but the reference link actually goes to ODF 1.1.
  • PDF is mandated for publication of static documents on the web.
  • UTF-8 (ISO/IEC 10646) is mandated as a universal character set standard, to be used in web publications, connections to registres and databases, and all other textual exchange and archiving.

Regarding ODF, according to Digi.no, Ms Røys at the press conference said she wants ODF to be the preferred document format also internally in the administration, and not “just” for external communication. But as I read the published documents, there is no actual mandation of internal use. One could – and should – of course argue that ODF “all the way” is the only sensible way to implement the policy, but I’m sure some will argue otherwise.
According to the press announcement, the interoperability framework is in consultion until 20 August 2008. I suppose they actually mean 20 August 2007. The mandation is proposed enacted by 1 January 2009.

Included in the interoperability framework is a set of national government standards, such as NOARK4 for archiving, and also a plan for extending the framework to other areas. On the latter, the document analyses the Danish, Belgian, German and British interoperability frameworks standard by standard, and explicitely argues that a European alignment and cooperation is necessary.

Danish coverage at Version2

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